Let’s Rethink That Smoothie Obsession

A few weeks ago I went to the post office to drop off  packages of Kippo shorts for some soon-to-be happy customers. Leaving the parking lot, I noticed a line wrapping around the building next door. Curious to see what all the excitement was about, I pulled into the parking lot. It was the grand opening of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The first five people in line won free smoothies for a year and the first 50 in the door earned some sort of lame coupon.

People were waiting in a line around the block for smoothies. Camping out.  I was appalled. If you have a smoothie obsession, it is silly and here are three reasons why:

  1. Many smoothies (I would venture to say most) are LOADED with sugar. For example, the  Strawberry Surf Rider from Jamba Juice, size large, has 128 grams of sugar. As mentioned in a previous blog post, sugar, is sugar, is sugar. Yes, a mango might have more fiber than a Snickers candy bar; however the sugar in a mango is more than twice the amount of sugar in a Snickers bar (Mango 46, snickers bar 20) and guess what… your body doesn’t differentiate. The World Health Organization recommends daily sugar intake at about 25 grams. Even if you size down and order a small Strawberry Surf rider, you are looking at 70 grams of sugar. Almost three times the daily recommended amount.
  1. Green smoothies are deceiving. Cucumbers are hydrating. Kale is a superfood. Spinach is high in iron, vitamin B, and fiber. Blend the three of those up into a smoothie and I bet money you might vomit. Most green smoothies are mixed with high sugar, high calorie, and high carb fruits like mangos and bananas to make them taste good. The Totally Green smoothie from Tropical Smoothie, size small, has 310 calories, 76 carbs, and 71 sugars. You could gain more nutritional value out of kale or spinach by sauteing it and putting ¼ cup of parmesan cheese on top! You could save about 176 calories, 70 grams of sugar and gain 10 grams of protein. Eat your greens.
  1. Fine. Drink a smoothie. Just don’t walk around believing you are doing yourself a favor. The average smoothie has between 300-500 calories and 45-150 grams of sugar. Here is a brief list of snacks you can eat that have fewer calories and less sugar: a) McDonald's Vanilla ice cream cone: 146 calories, and 18 grams of sugar b) a five ounce glass of red wine: 120 calories, and 0.9 grams of sugar or c) Schwan’s orange push pop: 90 calories, 16 grams of sugar.

The national obsession with smoothies has reached a fever pitch. Most are nothing more than a smooth path toward type two diabetes or smoothie-induced insulin comas. Suck it smoothies, you’re not that cool.

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